Segovia and Jazz Scales

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Rasputin
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by Rasputin » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:05 pm

I don't know whether its of any use/interest to you, but Alan Pollock wrote musciological analyses of nearly every Beatles song, quite a few of which are modal. If you Google for them you may then be able to do a search restricted to the site name for 'mixolydian' or whatever, then use that song as a jumping off point to explore the modes. I would suggest doing so in fifths - not that I've ever done it in any depth myself, but I've certainly heard it suggested that, just as a given mode is most similar to that same mode built on a note a fifth on either side (C major is most like F major or G major), each mode is most similar to the mode which uses the same notes but has is built on a note a fifth on either side (Ionian is most like Lydian or Mixolydian).

Todd Tipton
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by Todd Tipton » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:39 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:24 pm

I'm not interested so much from a playing perspective. I'll never be a jazz soloist and it's too late to become a rock guitar God. But I'd like to explore the use of modes in composing. I seem to have some sort of mental block on this topic.

Is Shearer a recommendation? Does he deal with the modes and talk us through them?
Now that I understand a little more of what you are after, no Shearer is not a recommendation and he doesn't discuss the modes. Shearer is something I recommend IN GENERAL for players. All classical players should learn the five CAGED scale forms, and how they connect. Working through only a small handful of the more common and friendly and upper position keys can significantly and quickly improve reading.

Can you be more specific about your mental block with modes? Modes can be explained a couple of different ways. If I better knew what you are wanting to learn, perhaps I and others could offer more assistance or point you to other resources.
Dr. Todd Tipton, classical guitarist
Cincinnati, OH, USA (available via Skype)

Lawler
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by Lawler » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:22 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:05 pm
I don't know whether its of any use/interest to you, but Alan Pollock wrote musciological analyses of nearly every Beatles song, quite a few of which are modal. If you Google for them you may then be able to do a search restricted to the site name for 'mixolydian' or whatever, then use that song as a jumping off point to explore the modes...
I second this suggestion. Pollack's writing on these is quite interesting. http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DAT ... s_on.shtml

PeteJ
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by PeteJ » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:45 pm

Todd Tipton wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:39 pm
Can you be more specific about your mental block with modes?
Well, this is the thing. It's not easy to say. I'm happy to flatten sevenths and fifths and to use adjacent harmonies and other stuff but this is by ear. I cannot get my head around the formal relationships of the modes to the key. I've heard it said that using the extensions of chords (11th, 13th etc) gives a similar palette of notes and I get this. But how to employ the modes in an organised and consistent way I don't know.

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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by Todd Tipton » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:05 pm

Pete,

I will give this a brief shot. There are two basic but different ways to look at modes. They each have their own purpose and use. I am going to use D Dorian as an example and look at it two different ways:

1. A Dorian mode is like a natural minor scale, but the 6th is raised a half step. Compare a D minor natural minor scale, and a D Dorian scale:

D minor:
D, E, F, G, A, B-flat, C, D

D Dorian:

D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D

This is a good example to compare the similarities and differences between a mode and its minor or major counterpart. As listeners, we can hear that raised 6th and the unique flavor it provides. The unexpected major IV chord (G) also helps to emphasize this as well as the unexpected minor ii chord. Looking at the mode in this way really helps to understand how it is unique. While it is similar to minor, it offers its own attributes. This particular way of looking at any of the modes can be helpful in understanding it, but it does absolutely nothing to understand how it relates to the key. For that, take a look at it from another perspective:

2. Here it is again:
D Dorian:

D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D

Now, think about the key signature. No sharps or flats. We understand that C major and A minor are relatives. D Dorian is also a relative. I am not a composer. I am a teacher and a secondary performer. This second way of looking at modes is what speaks to me, and what I share with my students.

******
Over half of my students cross train. As soon as a student learns their first major scale form, I introduce my cross trainers to basic improvisation using the major scale form. They are always happily surprised at the many flavors of music they are producing just by playing in a scale form. While perhaps not relevant to what YOU are seeking, this is more of what I meant in my earlier post about players really needing to see the shapes of the scale forms on the fret board.

In the name of practicality, understanding that a Dorian mode is a minor scale with a raised 6th does nothing to help me readily use the scale. Of course I UNDERSTAND it, but it doesn't help me learn to master my Dorian scales. Knowing the relative major scale, and knowing my major scale forms on the guitar does.

While I've used the Dorian mode as an example, this applies to all of the modes. And this also applies to all of the Jazz modes derived from the relative melodic minor scales. As players, yes it is important to understand the unique attributes of the various modes, but it doesn't help us play them. Seeing how they relate to relative keys and knowing our scale forms helps us play them.
Dr. Todd Tipton, classical guitarist
Cincinnati, OH, USA (available via Skype)

Rasputin
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by Rasputin » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:37 pm

Todd Tipton wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:05 pm
In the name of practicality, understanding that a Dorian mode is a minor scale with a raised 6th does nothing to help me readily use the scale. Of course I UNDERSTAND it, but it doesn't help me learn to master my Dorian scales. Knowing the relative major scale, and knowing my major scale forms
That way is easier for me too, and I think it reflects where the modes come from better. There is no raising or lowering going on in any of the ordinary modes, as I see it - they are all natural scales, consisting of 7 fifths rearranged into a single octave. The notes of C Ionian belong together for the same reason as the notes of D Dorian - it's the same string of 7 fifths, F C G D A E B. The different name just reflects the fact that in the first case they are used in such a way as to assert C as the tonal centre, while in the second they are used in such a way as to assert D as the tonal centre. With this in mind it makes more sense to me to think in terms of the Ionian fretboard patterns we already know, and try to remember that the points of reference have changed. Best of all would be to stop thinking of the pattern as a major scale - as if the major scale came first and the other modes were derived from it - and simply think of it as a set of notes which belong together, and which will have a different name and character depending on which of them is asserted to be the tonal centre.

I struggle a bit with this statement:
PeteJ wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:45 pm
I cannot get my head around the formal relationships of the modes to the key.

To me a key is just a name for the modes that are used in classical music, i.e. the Ionian and a harmonically strengthened version of the Aeolian. I am not sure you can be simultaneously in a key and a (different) mode. You might I suppose be in a given mode but expecting a return to the original key, but I'm not sure that counts.

PeteJ
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by PeteJ » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:39 am

Thanks for some great advice and comments.

What I meant by relating modes to keys is maybe better thought of a relating modes to the chords in the key. I see players using different modes for different chords in the key and I struggle to grasp how this is done. Part of the problem is I've never taken the trouble to study this topic properly. I was hoping to find a book that didn't just talk about the modes but contained studies and examples. Most books of this kind seem to be aimed at steel string/pick single-note players.

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prawnheed
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by prawnheed » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:22 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:39 am
Thanks for some great advice and comments.

What I meant by relating modes to keys is maybe better thought of a relating modes to the chords in the key. I see players using different modes for different chords in the key and I struggle to grasp how this is done. Part of the problem is I've never taken the trouble to study this topic properly. I was hoping to find a book that didn't just talk about the modes but contained studies and examples. Most books of this kind seem to be aimed at steel string/pick single-note players.
I find it easier to think of different modes as different keys - like is almost always done with the relative Major and minor keys. So you have a key of C Ionian (also known as C major) which has its diatonic chords, cadences etc. There is a separate key of D Dorian which has its own set of diatonic chords and cadences. Likewise there is a key of A Aeolian (also known as A minor). There is clearly a strong relationship between all of those keys - they share the all the same notes and there are consequently many ways to smoothly modulate between them.

Some of the confusion I think comes from the fact that, for the sake of brevity and convenience of notation, we make a distinction between two of the modes (Ionian and Aeolian) in this regard. So for example, there is actually no way of indicating in standard notation that a piece is written in D Dorian - it would be written using a key signature which we take to mean D minor and then accidentals transform that into the true Dorian key.

The reason the documentation is more aimed at popular music is simply that it is a more common compositional technique in popular music. Most classical and romantic music does not make use of the keys outside of the Major and minor. It does however frequently modify the minor scales to use the melodic and harmonic minor scales which are much less common in popular music - which are also written using accidentals although one could argue that they deserve their own key signature.

Jazz, of course, combines everything into an incomprehensible blurr that allows any possible note to be played at any possible moment with a sound theoretical basis explaining why it is correct.

CliffK
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by CliffK » Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:02 pm

Arnie Berle has three helpful books which relate to your question. They are clearly written and organized:

Patterns, Scales, and Modes for Jazz Guitar
Chords and Progressions for Jazz and Popular Guitar
Theory and Harmony for the Contemporary Musician

You might listen to jazz guitarists like Jim Hall, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, Joe Pass, Billy Bauer to get some ideas. There are many more fine players with various approaches to explore.
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PeteJ
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by PeteJ » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:36 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:22 pm
Jazz, of course, combines everything into an incomprehensible blur that allows any possible note to be played at any possible moment with a sound theoretical basis explaining why it is correct.
Quote of the week.

Thanks Cliffic - I'll check them out.

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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by chiral3 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:57 pm

Pete, for some ideas I recommend you check out this vlog from Adam Neely

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gog7xtXvndI

Related, I suggest binging many of Adam’s vlogs. Sometimes he’s off on some things, but he is remarkably insightful and knowledgeable on many things, and his presentations are clear and well done. His theory and analyses, vlogs on synesthesia, A=432, etc. are really worth watching.
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PeteJ
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by PeteJ » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:24 pm

Thanks. Adam Neely is very good. He nicely debunks the 432 frequency reference idea. Haven't found what I'm looking for yet but still browsing.

ronjazz
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by ronjazz » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:12 am

PeteJ, you might try harmonizing the major scale, building a chord in 3rds from each degree. This will give you some modal sounds and some insight into modal structures and harmonies, even though limited to diatonic sounds at first. Also, John Williams wrote a s\little suite based on modes, I think it's on "The Guitarist" album; simple stuff, but definitely along the lines you're thinking about.
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PeteJ
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by PeteJ » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:42 am

Thanks ronjazz. I'll check out the William's suite. Your suggestion is a good one but I already get the general idea. It's getting past the general idea that seems difficult. In all the time I've been playing I've never seen a book on the topic that's helped me much. There doesn't seem to be a dummies guide.

PeteJ
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Re: Segovia and Jazz Scales

Post by PeteJ » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:14 pm

CliffK wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:02 pm
Arnie Berle has three helpful books which relate to your question. They are clearly written and organized:

Patterns, Scales, and Modes for Jazz Guitar
Chords and Progressions for Jazz and Popular Guitar
Theory and Harmony for the Contemporary Musician
Thnaks. I've now been through the first one. Most of it is just lists of scale patterns but late in the book he shed a little light on my problems.

I see now that my confusion is to do with there being three ways or more of looking at modes. If I play G Mixolydian I think of it not as a mode but treat it as if I was playing over the dominant in the scale of C major, thus flattening the seventh. Each mode can be reproduced in this way, by assuming the chord being noodled over is the tonic, dominant, subdominant etc.

I'm not suggesting this is the correct way to think about it or the best way, but it allows me to understand what's going on.

Thus to play lines over a G chord one could assume it is V in the key of Cm and play in Cm. This gives me the notes of the natural Cm scale and its other forms. I always liked the change from Gm to Ab7th (lots of ska, the Blockheads, the Specials etc) but have only just understood the modal logic of it and thus how to imrov. freely over the top of it.

All in all I remain unconvinced that Segovia's approach to scales is as useful as it could be. The fingering is logical but not much use for jammin'.

Thanks to Todd for the long explanation. I would see your D Dorian scale as C major, as if D is II in the key of C. So at this point I don't think 'D Dorian' but 'C major' albeit centered on D.

I'm slowly getting it. Is there anything wrong with this post?

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